In 1957 there was a famous neuropsychology case that has been studied for years. The patient was called Henry M. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1926. He suffered from a case of epilepsy that was so severe and debilitating that he couldn’t function. At age 27, he underwent an experimental surgery in which parts of his brain were removed to try to treat his epilepsy.
The good news was that after surgery, he no longer suffered constant debilitating seizures. And there was no negative impact on his intelligence, personality, or social abilities. There was just one side effect. He had no short-term memory.
Henry M. couldn’t remember anything that happened after his surgery. He couldn’t recognize his doctors. Once home, he’d do the same jigsaw puzzle over and over, and read and re-read the same magazines.
When interviewed 30 minutes after lunch, he couldn’t remember a single thing he had just eaten. Henry M. was stuck in time, unable to learn, grow, or change.
As sad as that is, I know a lot of people who are the same way. For them, all change is bad. So they never grow. It’s sad. Really sad.